Say hello to Henrietta, the six-legged kitten who has stolen the hearts of the folks of Wallsend, UK. And she will soon be looking for her forever home!
This Ginger Queen is reportedly the only feline in Britain to be born with six legs, resulting from a condition called polymelia.
Just a few months old, Henrietta has had a tough go of it. She was born with what's known as Twisted Leg Syndrome, which is a condition that happens in the womb when the kitten's leg can't develop properly and the tendons become contracted. Volunteers worked round the clock to exercise Henrietta's damaged leg.
“We were able to manipulate her leg back to its normal position over time with daily massage. Now you wouldn’t even know she had been born with it," said Henrietta's foster mom, Pat Dryden.
Henrietta also had two unusual looking skin tags growing from the back of her two back legs.
It wasn't until a few weeks later that the volunteers at Feline Friends Cat Rescue realized that the skin tags were growing paws and claws! They weren't skin tags at all, but rather two extra legs that continued to develop, meaning Henrietta the kitten had six, count 'em, six legs.
It's suspected that the extra legs are as a result of Henrietta actually having a conjoined twin - which might also explain why she's a female ginger tabby.
Not only is Henrietta extremely rare due to her two extra legs, this little kitten is also a female ginger cat when nearly 80% of ginger cats are male - which is why the rescue originally called her Henri.
"Henrietta was originally Henri - named after a French artist with short legs Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - because we thought she was male, with her being tabby,"
Local vets determined it would be best for Henrietta to have the surplus legs surgically removed. "She is doing very well for the moment but we worry that over time, as these strange legs grow, they will impinge on her movement and quality of life," says Dryden.
The rescue held a fundraiser to pay for the cost of Henrietta's operation, with a goal of £2,000, raising over £2,500!
“She’s a lovely little cat who likes to have fun. She has been handled since day one so she wants to picked up. Despite her extra legs she is extremely fit and healthy,” says foster mom, Pat.
She added: “Henrietta loves to play with her sibling Lucy. She can jump, climb, use her litter tray and, once she has had her surgery, will be wanting to find her forever home.”
For more information on Henrietta, please see the Feline Friends Cat Rescue page!